The Father’s Pity!

Psalm 103:13

As a father pities his children,
so the LORD pities those who fear him.

It is notable that Scripture puts the image of “father” and “pity” together.  Normally, we associate “pity” with squishier members of the family: our sweet old granny who kisses the scratch and makes it better; or our mom, who pities us so beautifully when we are sick or lonely or frightened of the doctor.  But Scripture says God pities us like a father pities his children.  How does a father pity his children? Often with much less outward tenderness, but with a determination to see to it that we really make it through to happiness.  A father’s heart breaks at his child’s suffering as much as a mother’s.  But fathers push us on to keep going in the face of adversity.  Mothers are more inclined to say “Here.  Take a break.  Have some ice cream.  There…. Feeling better?”  Both kinds of love are necessary to us.  That is why Father God gives us Mother Mary.  And that is why Mother Mary keeps pointing us back to Father God.  Their pity is given, not to make us pitiful, but to make us endlessly happy, strong, and free in Christ.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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